The Caucasus Institute for Peace Democracy and Development and Nino Daraseli’s foundation, are organizations that will distribute the GEL 1 million allocated by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili for media development. How the process of selecting the organizations, as well as how the money might be distributed imposes serious questions to media representatives.
Two winners for media assistance
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 9
According to Saakashvili’s declaration, published in Sakanonmdeblo Matsne, on December 17th, a non-commercial legal entity would undertake the project; which will be chosen through a contest. The committee was also created in order to guarantee the contest and reveal the winner.
The presidential order reads that the committee was represented by the chairperson of the committee, Nino Kalandadze, the president’s advisor and former deputy of Foreign Affairs Minister; other members of the committee will be advisors of President Saakashvili: Van Bayburt, Mubariz Karaev, Vera Kobalia and Natalia Kancheli.
The members of the committee presented significant question marks– even at the beginning of the project. Various media organizations had expressed doubts that the process would be politically motivated.
After naming the winning organizations, the committee members did not provide detailed information based on what criteria the winners were chosen. Instead, Bayburt announced that lots of media organizations will be involved in the process and will address the winning organizations to gain some financing from that GEL 1 million.
Kalandadze underscored that only four organizations addressed the committee after the President’s statement.
“In the case that the four organizations meet the conditions we would have financed all of them,” Kalandadze stated.
“The current situation and environment, as well as the non-transparent methods of the process, make us believe that the situation has more political grounds than assisting media organizations,” Editor in Chief of Rezonansi newspaper, Lasha Tughushi said.
Media analyst Ia Antadze claims that she received information concerning the winners without providing information why these organizations have been selected and not others.
“The ongoing process and its obscurity confirmed the doubts that the initiative will serve some political interests. We do not still know which media outlets will be final addressees of that money and for what they will get the financing, however, it is already obvious that directly or indirectly distribution of the funds will be related with politics,” Antadze said.
Head of the Caucasus institute, Gia Nodia made a special press conference concerning the issue the same day, stating that his organization is one of the oldest and the most experienced in media issues.
“I am not going to respond on various speculations regarding the political grounds of choosing our institute. One I can say is that we have a serious experience in media field and to my mind we had interesting initiatives,” Nodia stated.
According to him Caucasus institute will get GEL 800 000 and the organization will distribute the money on as many small projects as possible. An emphasis will be placed on the most innovative, interesting and large scaled projects aiming involvement of as many individuals as possible in the civil actions.
“The development of internet media will be encouraged,” Nodia said, adding that the Caucasus Institute will carry out technical procedures in January and a special ruling body will be formed within the institute that will receive and discuss the projects from February.
Nodia also emphasized that the projects will not be available during the discussion process, as there is no such experience worldwide.
Nodia also underscored that all the procedures carried out by the organization will follow international standards and will be maximally transparent.
The head of the second winner organization, Daraseli is not in Georgia currently. Her organization will get GEL 200 000 for distribution.